Notes from Mindstorms

  • Having words for things like “nested loop” or for different kinds of bugs or conditions can be hugely helpful for clarity of thinking
  • Children can learn computing best when they program the computer, not when it’s used to attempt to program them
  • It’s too bad excel isn’t more extensible, it could be a fantastic platform for learning to use computers to model and learn complex subjects, their relationships, etc
  • The program isn’t right or wrong, but fixable or not
  • New programmers: articulate your debugging strategies
  • The computer reflects how we think. We build our own flaws into our programs
  • Possible to have a curriculum that allows students freedom and flexibility without totally abandoning structure and sequencing
  • Computers became cheap and pervasive because they went from being expensive to construct out of millions of parts into an integrated circuit, one piece, made cheaper. What else is like this?
  • Internet of things needs a programming language suitable for the task: one language to reason about what should happen to my lights when my fridge opens, or what text message I should get when my garage door opens
  • For kids, lights and toys could be great analogs. Bring the turtle from logo into the real world
  • Education is really like Alan watts’ idea of the organism-environment. Learning happens within a culture of artifacts and objects-to-think-with
  • If you wanted to start a school for children to learn to code, create a system where they can apply their skills quickly, even make money! That way people can see that the entire education system from K-college isn’t the right lens to see the feedback loop. That would take too long anyway, but people have to see why that’s the wrong loop. Show them how quickly someone can go from where they are to using software to solve real problems. Months instead of half a lifetime
  • inherently teaching by tutorial discourages going off-roading
  • reminds us of how we learned: by copying code and then tweaking (think geocities or angel fire)
    • personal aspect can be empowering, you’re building something for YOU that represents YOU
  • allowing the students to guide their own experience rather than the other way around, they are self-motivated (ZAMM)
  • setting expectations up front and guiding the projects based upon the student goals
  • machines for making the abstract concrete?
  • helping mentors learn more about this theory stuff

Am I talking about coding? Or how to live life?

Published by

Dave Paola